Working Through the Beastly Remains of Macpherson’s Sporting Stores, by Merle Patchett

Beastly Histories


The image above depicts the material remains of Macpherson’s Sporting Stores, Inglis Street, Inverness, the supplier and taxidermist of choice to the Highland’s huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ fraternity for over eighty years. Falling out of business in the 1970s, Macpherson’s workaday material legacy was quickly acquired by Inverness Museum in recognition that they were only remainders marking the craftwork of the most notable taxidermy workshop in Inverness, a town which had been a centre for taxidermy for over a century through its enormous trade in sporting mementoes. The purchase largely consisted of tools, materials and equipment used by the firm’s chief taxidermist, John MacDonald (1884-1969). Macdonald had worked at the firm for 58 years and his tools and equipment had lain virtually untouched since his death in 1969.

The workshop contents, once on public display, are now stored in the museum collections. Removed from their original situation or documentary context, objects and…

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